Having an IP address is suddenly the coolest trend going. Every consumer gadget hitting the market these days is getting assigned its very own defining coordinates to facilitate data transfer – from smartphones and smartwatches to other varieties of smart home appliances and who knows what next.

Assigning IP addresses to these new devices gives them more intelligent capabilities. A light bulb can be remotely managed to turn on and off on schedule, and take into account the sunlight entering the room according to the sensor data fed to it, for example. Or your watch can be transformed from a simple time piece into a device to monitor your email, track your fitness plan, and even field phone calls. So the more IP addresses the better, right?

In most people’s books, yes, but for those managing the massive routing plan of a corporate network and the Internet en masse, it can be a bit of a nightmare. When the IP address was invented, no one imagined there’d be trillions of devices that would need one. As a result, the number of IP addresses that can be assigned under the old system is quickly running out and we need to start moving to a new format for assigning addresses out. It’s a bit like when your town gets so large that a new postal code needs to be added.

To understand it all, take a look at this infographic from WhoIsHostingThis? – it’s all the details most people will ever need to know about how IP addresses work and what it means for your computing life.


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